Staying active is one of the best ways to boost your health. For one thing, it helps keep the doctor away. Not only will it keep your weight under control, but it will also lower your blood pressure, improve circulation, and prevent bone loss. On top of all that, it’s a great way to manage stress! If anything, exercise is a natural mood lifter.
Given all that, it’s not surprising to know that so many people go to the gym. Sure, you have to pay a bit, but you’ll get access to a variety of exercise equipment. You can even invite your friends and workout together! At the end of the day, however, it doesn’t matter how you exercise as long as you exercise. For instance, you can just as easily go for a run around the neighborhood. Do whatever fits your schedule!
What kind of gear do you need? Ultimately, it depends on the activity. With that said, appropriate clothes are a must—regardless of what you’re doing. Ideally, what you want to wear is activewear. Made from synthetic fabrics, these types of garments are specifically designed for exercise. What sets them apart from normal clothing? They’re comfortable, moisture-wicking, and offer a free range of motion. In other words, you won’t have to worry about it affecting your performance!
Let’s break it down even further. For starters, you’ll need a top and some type of bottom. Compression garments might also be a good idea for certain activities. Assuming that you’re a woman, you’ll also need to wear a sports bra. Why is that so important? Let’s take a look.
Why You Should Wear a Sports Bra
Sports bras are an essential part of your workout wardrobe (assuming that you’re a gal). That’s right, they’re not just there to look pretty—they have an actual purpose! What do they do? They support your chests. More specifically, they prevent them from bouncing up and down. Now, that might seem funny but it can actually pose risks to your health. After all, our breasts consist of fatty tissue that’s surrounded by fragile ligaments. Without adequate support, they will stretch and break down, which will lead to irreversible sagging.
Remember, the size of your breasts does not matter. At the end of the day, we all have the same ligaments. Considering that, it’s crucial that you wear a sports bra, whether you’re doing low or high impact exercises.
Choosing the Proper Sports Bra
Chances are, you’ll have to try on a few sizes before finding the perfect fit. First things first, you want to pay attention to the back band. Ideally, you want it to be at the same level all around—if it goes up, the bra is probably too big. Fit-wise, you want it to be snug, however, you don’t want it to be so tight that you can’t breathe (here’s a tip—you shouldn’t be able to fit more than one finger in the cup).
How can you tell if a sports bra isn’t fitting properly? You might experience back or breast pain—this is due to a lack of support. Not only that, but the straps might dig into your skin while you’re working out. As you can imagine, that can be quite uncomfortable!
Note: Keep in mind that there are three types of sports bras, each of which offers a different level of support. Generally speaking, low-impact sports bras, which are used for walking or stretching are made from a thinner material. In contrast, medium or high-impact bras have more supportive seams.
Keeping Your Sports Bra Clean
Sports bras are close-fitting—that’s the way they’re supposed to be worn. Given that, it only makes sense that they’d get sweaty during a workout. Don’t want them to get smelly? Then be sure to wash them after every wear. Left in the laundry hamper, the fabric can easily become a hotbed for odor-causing bacteria. Not only would that be icky from a hygienic perspective, but it can also have an impact on your health!
Luckily, these types of garments are easy to wash—all you have to do is throw them in the washing machine! With that said, it’s best to wash them by hand whenever you can. Why? They can take quite a beating with all the agitation. Over time, this can cause the synthetic fibers to break down, which will shorten the bra’s lifespan.
7 Ways You’re Ruining Your Sports Bras
Remember, sports bras are considered to be delicate items. In other words, you don’t want to wash them like tees and shorts—there are certain things that you want to do and certain things that you don’t want to do. Here are a few common mistakes that you might be making!
1. You’re Not Using a Lingerie Bag
It’s best to wash your sports bras by hand. However, there will be times when you need to put them in the machine. In cases like that, you’ll want to use a mesh laundry bag. If anything, it’s something that you definitely do not want to skip! What does the bag do? It will prevent the sports bra from stretching out. Not only that, but it’ll act as a barrier against the rest of your clothes—that is, it’ll prevent them from snagging on your other items (trust me, it does happen). Don’t have one of these bags? You can use a clean pillowcase in the meantime while you go shop for one.
2. You’re Putting Your Sports Bras In The Dryer
Never put your sports bras in the dryer—that’s pretty much a cardinal sin. Over time, the heat (even on the lowest setting) will weaken the synthetic fibers, which will cause it to lose its elasticity. What good would a sports bra be if something like that happens? For one thing, it wouldn’t be able to provide your breasts with the adequate support that they need!
What you want to do instead, is to air dry them. As with most clothes, there are a few ways that you can do this. For instance, you can place them on a drying rack or lay them flat to dry. There’s also the option of hanging them on a clothesline. Be careful with this method, though—you want to avoid hanging them by the straps as the material can stretch out. Luckily, synthetic fabrics dry quickly so you won’t have to hang them up for too long!
3. You’re Using The Wrong Kind of Detergent
Detergents are not all the same. When it comes to sports bras (and other activewear), you want to make sure that you’re using the right kind. Ultimately, what you want to do is to use something that’s specifically formulated for synthetic fibers. After all, most traditional detergents are not meant for those kinds of fabrics—they simply aren’t able to get rid of the sweat and oils that are embedded in the fibers. Left alone, these substances can easily ruin your bra!
Not sure what type of detergent to use? Why not give Active Detergent a try? The way it’s formulated, it’s capable of physically dissolving the ick. What’s more, is that it consists of all-natural ingredients. In other words, you won’t have to worry about exposing yourself (and the environment) to a cocktail of chemicals!
4. You’re Using Too Much Detergent for Sports Bras
Just because you’re using the right detergent doesn’t mean that your sports bras won’t get ruined. As it turns out, the amount that you add is super important as well. Why? Too much detergent will be difficult to rinse out. Assuming that there’s residue left on your sports bra, it will attract more dirt and oils, both of which will cause the fibers to break down over time. Considering this, you always want to follow the instructions on the packaging. Remember, more is not necessarily better!
5. You’re Using Fabric Softener
Sports bras, like most activewear, is made from synthetic fabrics. One of the benefits to this is that they’re naturally moisture-wicking. What does this mean? It means that they pull sweat away from the skin. In doing so, you won’t have to feel clammy during your workout. Well, as it turns out, this moisture-wicking property can easily be ruined by fabric softeners. Ultimately, what happens is that they’ll leave a waxy layer on your bras—one that will prevent sweat from moving to the surface. Not only that, but the residue can attract dirt and oils, which will require you to wash them more frequently!
If you want to soften your sports bra, try a natural alternative like white vinegar instead. Simply add a little bit to your load and it will work its magic. As an added bonus, it will also help to get rid of any odors!
6. You’re Not Washing Them Enough
Remember what we said earlier? You want to wash your sports bra after every wear—that way, you won’t have to worry about the buildup of bacteria and odors. Trust me, even if it doesn’t look dirty, oils from your skin will be on the fabric. Over time, it will degrade the fabric and elastic, which will ruin the bra. Sunscreen, moisturizers, and perfume only make the situation worse.
7. You Don’t Separate Your Sports Bras From Your Other Clothes
Don’t get me wrong, it’s perfectly fine to wash your sports bras with other clothes (as long as you’re using a laundry bag). There’s just one thing to be careful of—you always want to separate them from coarser items (e.g. denim, clothing with zippers or other hardware). In other words, don’t put them in the machine blindly; you want to make sure that the other items inside will not damage your bra.